Business

The Year of the Great Redistribution

Robert Reich

The stock market closed out a record year at an all-time high [at the end of the year] giving stockholders in 2013 their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.

But the real news here, that went completely unreported, is that the 2013 bull market widened inequality because

(1) the richest 1 percent of Americans own 35 percent of the value of all shares of stock, and the richest 10 percent own over 80 percent,

(2) the corporate profits on which these gains were based came largely from keeping the wages of ordinary workers low,

(3) the capital gains and dividends these gains generated are taxed at a lower rate than most of the income of the middle class, and

(4) the biggest winners are the top executives and Wall Street traders whose year-end bonuses are tied to the stock market, and the hedge-fund and private-equity managers whose “carried interest” loophole allows them to cash in big-time. When will we stop measuring the health of the economy by the Dow Jones Industrial average? —

Uh, America, are we listening to this man?

Watch The Beautiful Thai Commerical That’s Making The Whole World Cry

AATTP

Sometimes you don’t need a two or three-hour movie to tell a story, make a statement and move people.  Sometimes you can do it in three minutes with little dialog and a minuscule budget.  Sometimes simple imagery does it better than any special effects or big production pieces.  Sometimes you find such artistry in the most unexpected places – you know – like maybe within a television commercial.

In a three-minute commercial called “Giving True,” a Thai telecom company does just that and, while it may seem to be a bit crass to put the company out there as some major philanthropic organization, the end product is an excellent morality tale.

It tells the story of a man who does a good deed with no expectation of repayment and, who many years later, is repaid many times over for his kindness.  In three minutes this mini movie tells a touching story and elicits a strong emotional response.  If it does not move you and, at the very least, bring a lump to the throat then there is something wrong . . . you have no heart.

 

If This Is How The Nice Kids Think, Imagine How The Not-So-Nice Ones Feel

From seventh grade on, I attended a Lutheran school in New York City where the students were predominantly White.  Similar feelings seemed to prevail back in the early sixties as they do now, but surprisingly subdued given the era.

Nothing was overt just a keen awareness of the differences.

Upworthy

These aren’t “bad” kids in the video. They don’t intend to be mean or judgmental, and definitely not racist. They’re just average kids, and most of them probably have great parents, just like Mikayla’s. That’s what makes the content of this video so shocking.

 

 

Elizabeth Warren’s First Senate Banking Committee Hearing

Pic of the Moment

Democratic Underground

Senator Warren: ‘Why aren’t more bank execs in jail?’

The Senator says, “I’m just concerned that too big to fail has become too big for trial.”

“Too big for trial,” that’s a powerful tagline to hit the Goldman Sachs crowd with. It’s a brilliant turn of phrase.

Bank of America: Too Crooked to Fail

I saw Matt Taibbi on The Dylan Rattigan Show this afternoon.  I was really shocked to learn how Bank of America and other banks have committed the most egregious acts against the citizens of this country and the government.  No one has ever been prosecuted for the causes of the financial melt down in 2007.  Taibbi has a lot to say on the matter…

Rolling Stone

The bank has defrauded everyone from investors and insurers to homeowners and the unemployed. So why does the government keep bailing it out?

At least Bank of America got its name right. The ultimate Too Big to Fail bank really is America, a hypergluttonous ward of the state whose limitless fraud and criminal conspiracies we’ll all be paying for until the end of time. Did you hear about the plot to rig global interest rates? The $137 million fine for bilking needy schools and cities? The ingenious plan to suck multiple fees out of the unemployment checks of jobless workers? Take your eyes off them for 10 seconds and guaranteed, they’ll be into some shit again: This bank is like the world’s worst-behaved teenager, taking your car and running over kittens and fire hydrants on the way to Vegas for the weekend, maxing out your credit cards in the three days you spend at your aunt’s funeral. They’re out of control, yet they’ll never do time or go out of business, because the government remains creepily committed to their survival, like overindulgent parents who refuse to believe their 40-year-old live-at-home son could possibly be responsible for those dead hookers in the backyard.

It’s been four years since the government, in the name of preventing a depression, saved this megabank from ruin by pumping $45 billion of taxpayer money into its arm. Since then, the Obama administration has looked the other way as the bank committed an astonishing variety of crimes – some elaborate and brilliant in their conception, some so crude that they’d be beneath your average street thug. Bank of America has systematically ripped off almost everyone with whom it has a significant business relationship, cheating investors, insurers, depositors, homeowners, shareholders, pensioners and taxpayers. It brought tens of thousands of Americans to foreclosure court using bogus, “robo-signed” evidence – a type of mass perjury that it helped pioneer. It hawked worthless mortgages to dozens of unions and state pension funds, draining them of hundreds of millions in value. And when it wasn’t ripping off workers and pensioners, it was helping to push insurance giants like AMBAC into bankruptcy by fraudulently inducing them to spend hundreds of millions insuring those same worthless mortgages.

But despite being the very definition of an unaccountable corporate villain, Bank of America is now bigger and more dangerous than ever. It controls more than 12 percent of America’s bank deposits (skirting a federal law designed to prohibit any firm from controlling more than 10 percent), as well as 17 percent of all American home mortgages. By looking the other way and rewarding the bank’s bad behavior with a massive government bailout, we actually allowed a huge financial company to not just grow so big that its collapse would imperil the whole economy, but to get away with any and all crimes it might commit. Too Big to Fail is one thing; it’s also far too corrupt to survive.

Read more… 

Hey, Bank of America, how many times do I have to tell you my husband is dead?

If corporations are people too, BOA is one stupid ^%$%^(*  person!

Daily Kos - Kaili Joy Gray

Dear Bank of America,

My husband died on May 12, 2010. You know this because I dutifully informed you shortly after he died. And you so generously told me that since he was such a valued customer, and you sure were going to miss his business, that I, lucky widow that I am, could take over the outstanding balance on his credit cards and pay you those thousands of dollars you won’t be able to squeeze out of his dead corpse. So kind of you.

But your kindness didn’t end there. Oh no. Because despite those oh-so-enjoyable conversations and exchanging of documents, his death somehow didn’t make it into the right databases. Apparently, I failed to personally inform each and every Bank of America employee of his demise, failed to personally deliver a certified copy of his death certificate to your each and every branch, failed to make it clear that he was, like, really dead and isn’t coming back, so no, he will never be available to sign any of your forms.

My bad, Bank of America. I’m so sorry for my failure.

But your thoughtfulness knows no bounds, Bank of America, so you make sure we have the same conversation each time I need to make a deposit or withdrawal or get a copy of a statement. Every transaction from his trust account must be made in person because of courseyour policy is to make sure that widows who deal with their husbands’ trust accounts can’t just do it online, like all of your other banking. Nope, widows must come into the bank each time, must sit down with you each time, must show you the death certificate each time, must tell you the story of his death—the date, the location, the status of our marriage, the color socks he was wearing at the time—each and every time.

And each and every time, you assure me that you’re so sorry and you’ll be sure to make a note on the account and enter the information into the system so that I won’t have to collapse in tears in the middle of your bank the next time I have business to do. You promise. Pinky swear. Here, have a tissue.

Until, of course, your policies change again and you need to see the death certificate again and make another copy, but this time will be the last time.

Really, Bank of America, it’s so thoughtful of you to ensure that banking transactions are so time-consuming and personal. You see, I have so many tasks and obligations as his widow, but these little exchanges you insist we have really help add some excitement to the otherwise monotonous grieving process.

But that’s not all. Oh no. Because despite the dozens of conversations we’ve had wherein I explain to you—again—that he can’t sign that form you need him to sign on account of him being dead, you felt that his death was no excuse for him not paying monthly fees on his old checking account you were supposed to have closed a year ago. You can imagine my surprise when I received a notice that my dead husband owed you, Bank of America, hundreds of dollars in overdraft fees because you’d been helping yourself to his money, a month at a time, until the account was emptied and then overdrawn.

Is this because I declined your generous offer to pay off his credit card? Is it because you knew I had better things to do than check to make sure that account you said you’d closed was actually, you know, closed? I guess I can’t blame you for trying to squeeze every last penny out of his corpse. After all, Bank of America, your CEO did tell us last year that you have a right to make a profit. Even off a dead guy.

I really have to thank you, Bank of America, for today’s little exchange. See, silly me, I thought I could just walk into the bank and make a deposit into my account of a check made out to both me and my husband. My bad, I know. Because of course you need his signature as well. You couldn’t possibly allow me to rip off my dead husband. I understand, you’re just looking out for his best interests, making sure I’m not swindling his corpse out of that $100 I naively thought I could deposit. After all, you really valued him as a customer.

You made the same promises and assurances to me that you always do, offered with the same insincere apologies. Oh, you’re so sorry for my loss. You’re so sorry to have to ask me these questions for the eleventy billionth time. You’ll be sure to make a note on the account that my husband’s signature should not be required for any further transactions, on account of how dead people have a hell of a time signing their name. But you mean it this time, right? You promise? Pinky swear?

I’m sure you’ll be heartbroken to know, Bank of America, that this whole sordid probate business is coming to completion, and that account will be closed and emptied soon. So we won’t have this quality time together much longer, wherein you tell me you can’t possibly process my money without hearing the whole story of my husband’s death—again. And reviewing all the paperwork—again. And then letting me know just how sorry you are for this loss we share—for me, the loss of my husband, and for you, more importantly, the loss of such a customer who was so valuable to you until he stopped paying you those monthly fees on account of being, you know, dead.

Believe me, Bank of America, I’m counting down the days until our relationship comes to a close. I know it must be hard for you. Allow me to offer you my condolences. Here, have a tissue. It’s the least I can do to help you through this difficult process.

Just one more thing, Bank of America, and I mean this from the bottom of my grieving widow’s heart:

Fuck you. No, seriously, fuck you.

Most sincerely,

One really pissed off widow

Georgia Business Declares New Company Policy: ‘We Are Not Hiring Until Obama Is Gone’

Think Progress

A business owner in western Georgia instituted a new company policy recently: “We are not hiring until Obama is gone.”

Bill Looman, who owns U.S. Cranes, LLC in Waco, Georgia, explained that while “I’ve got people that I want to hire now,” he didn’t think he would be able to foot the expense “unless some things change in D.C.”

Not content to simply implement the new policy internally, Looman decided to plaster it on all his company’s trucks. He did so, as 11Alive noted, “for all to see as the trucks roll up and down roads, highways and interstates.”

Watch it:

The notion that President Obama’s economic policies preclude small businesses from hiring new workers isn’t the only ludicrous claim Looman pushes. A cursory glance at Looman’s public Facebook page shows he is prone to anti-Obama conspiracy theories. Earlier this month, he posted a false report that Larry Sinclair* – the man who claimed he did drugs and had sex with President Obama – had died and implied foul play, writing “MAKES YOU WONDER HUH?” Looman’s page is also riddled with pro-confederate and anti-Muslim postings.

More importantly, Looman’s assertion that he would be able to hire more workers but for Obama’s economic policies defies reason. In the last few months alone, Obama has proposed giving major tax credits to businesses that hire new workers, including a $4,000 credit for hiring the long-term unemployed. Just this week, Obama signed a law to give additional tax credits to businesses that hire veterans.

Ironically, despite the fact that he claims to want to hire new workers, Looman’s anti-Obama anti-hiring stance will prevent his business from enjoying any of these new incentives.

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* Full Disclosure: I write a blog called Sinclair Watch.  I’ve been doing so for about two years now.  The blog challenges much of what Larry Sinclair has said over the past three years about Barack Obama.

25 Giant Corporations That Paid Their CEOs More Than They Paid Uncle Sam

Keep in mind that in the Taxes column, dollar ($) numbers represent millions….

Mother Jones

It might make sense for a small business to pay its top brass more than it doles out to Uncle Sam in taxes, but what if that company has tens of thousands of employees and billions of dollars in profits? Well, this is America folks. What follows is a list of 25 mega corporations that paid one guy—their CEO—more money than what they spent on their entire federal tax bills last year. The same companies averaged $1.9 billion each in profits—money that was earned, in many cases, by cutting thousands of American jobs.

Source: Institute for Policy Studies

Giuliani mocks those hit by recession during his Koch Bros summit speech

Rudy Giuliani is such a jerk…

Democratic Underground

Rudy cozying up to the Koch Bros. cocktail crowd at the Americans for Prosperity summit and offering his blame-the-poor version of advice,’ by telling a generation of underpaid workers saddled with student loan debt that they need to work on their education more and find an eight-hour a day job.

Related articles

The Future Of Political Donations In One Graphic?

Good Culture

Three years ago GOOD had the idea to plaster politicians’ financial sponsors all over their fancy suits, just like they do in NASCAR. With corporate money being such a huge part of the American political system—and with its influence set to get even bigger—it would help voters if our elected representatives were as transparent as possible about who’s backing them, and to what extent.

Reddit user crandyj1220 has followed our lead. Last week he uploaded to the social news site his own Nascar-ized politician, this one of our new Republican House speaker, John Boehner. An image like this isn’t all you need to make your decisions about a politician, of course, but it’s sure nice to know when these people are getting fat checks from tobacco companies and health insurance giants.